Sunday, May 22, 2005

Henry Corden R.I.P.

Actor Henry Corden died at age 85 of emphysema Thursday night. To fans of the TV series The Monkees, he will probably be best remembered as The Monkees' grumpy landlord, Babbit. For others he may be best remembered as the voice of Fred Flinstone since the original voice of the character, Alan Reed, died 1977.

Corden made his screen debut in a small role in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty in 1947. He made his film career largely from playing heavies and, having a gift for dialects, playing various ethnicities. Over his film career he appeared in such movies as Abbott and Costello in the Foreign Legion, The Ten Commandments, and Tammy Tell Me True.

On television Corden not only played the landlord on The Monkees, but at one time was one of the stock players Jack Webb used on Dragnet. Corden made many guest appearances on television, appearing frequently on both sitcoms and dramas. He appeared in such dramas as Gunsmoke Peter Gunn, and Have Gun, Will Travel. He made guest appearancs on many sitcoms, ranging from My Favorite Martian to The Beverly Hillbillies to The Mary Tyle Moore Show.

Starting with the The Jetsons (for which he provided additional voices), Corden started doing voice work for Hanna Barbera. He provided the voice of Paw Rugg on The Hillbilly Bears, Arnie Barkley on The Barkleys, and, of course, Fred Flintstone.

Henry Corden was a gifted character actor and voice man who enhanced many movies, sitcoms, and cartoons over the years. I can think of no one who could have made a better landlord for The Monkees. His comic timing was perfect. It is sad to think that he is gone.

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